anville maps geographical geography ancient
DANVILLE, a city of the United States, the administrative seat of Vermilion county, Illinois, on the Vermilion river, a tributary of the Wabash, about 125 miles south of Chicago. Situated in a rich and populous district, in the vicinity of an extensive coal-field, and well supplied with building materials and water, it forms a flourishing manufacturing centre with foundries, waggon works, locomotive works, and various other industrial establishments. It was founded in 1828, and in 1873 had about 7000 inhabitants.
D'ANVILLE, JEAN BAPTISTE BOURGUIGNON (16971782), a French geographer of the highest eminence, was born at Paris on the 11th July 1697. His passion for geographical research displayed itself from his earliest years. At the age of twelve, while reading the Latin authors at college, he amused himself with drawing maps of the countries which they described. While he was thus busily employing himself one day in the class, his master observed and was about to punish him ; but upon casting his eye upon the performance, he immediately judged him to be deserving rather of encouragement. After leaving college he derived much instruction from intercourse with the Abbi Longuerue, the celebrated antiquarian. D'Anville from this time devoted himself entirely to geography, particularly that of the ancient world. His first map, that of Ancient Greece, was published when he was fifteen, and at the age of twenty-two he was appointed one of the king's geographers, and began to delineate maps which attracted the attention of the most eminent authorities.
The course of study on which D'Anville entered was of great extent. Works professedly geographical formed the least part of it ; those of all the ancient and modern historians, travellers, narrators of every description, were assiduously examined. He studied also the philosopher; orators, and poets, but only for the sake of the occasional geographical lights which they afforded, for it was remarked that in perusing their works he was totally indifferent to everything which did not tend to fix a geographical position. The object of this immense labour was to effect a complete reform in the science of geography by banishing the system of copying blindly from preceding maps, and never fixing a single position without a careful examination of all the authorities upon which it rested. By this process he detected many serious errors in the works of his most celebrated predecessors, while his own accuracy was soon attested on all sides by the travellers and mariners who had taken his works as their guide. His principles led him also to another innovation, which was that of omitting every name for which there existed no sufficient authority. Vast spaces, which had before been covered with countries and cities, were thus suddenly reduced to a perfect blank; but it was speedily perceived that this was the only accurate course, and that the defect lay in the science, not iu the geographer.
D'Anville was at first employed in the humbler tasli of illustrating by maps the works of different travellers, such as Marchais, Charlevoix, Labat, and Dulialde. For the history of China by the last-named writer he was employed to make an atlas, which was published by itself at the Hague in 1737. The question respecting the figt.re of the earth coming to be much agitated, he published in 1735 and 1736 two treatises, with a view to illustrate it. But this attempt to solve a geometrical problem by historical materials was eminently unsuccessful. Maupertuis having gone to measure a degree within the polar circle, the result was found directly opposite to D'Anville's prediction. Any loss of reputation which this failure might have occasioned was completely retrieved by his map of Italy, published in 1743. It was marked by a method of investigation often employed by D'Anville with peculiar success, which consisted in the application of ancient materials to correct the existing geography. By the diligent study of the Latin authors he was enabled to trace numerous errors which had crept into the delineation of that country. A trigonometrical survey which Pope Benedict XIV. almost immediately after caused to be made in the States of the Church confirmed, in a surpriziug degree, all these alterations. On this occasion he first set the example of accompanying the map with a memoir exhibiting the data on which it had been constructed.
He now applied himself to ancient geography, always his favourite department, the aspect of which, under his hands, was soon completely changed. He illustrated successively, by maps, all the countries known to the ancients, among which Egypt attracted his peculiar attention. To render these labours more extensively useful, he published in 1768 his Geographic Ancienne Abrgyee, of which an English translation, entitled Compendium of Ancient Geography, appeared in 1791. His attention was finally turned to the Middle Ages, which were illustrated by his Etats formes etc Europe apres la Chttte de l'Empire Romain en Occident (1771), and by some other works equally learned. Entirely devoted to geographical inquiries, the appearance of his successive publications formed the only events by which his life was diversified. From causes which are not explained, he was late in being admitted into the literary societies. In 1754, at the age of sixty, he became a member of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, whose transactions he enriched with many papers. In 1775 he received the only place in the Academy of Sciences which is allotted to geography ; and in the same year he was appointed, without solicitation, first geographer to the king. But these honours came too late to gladden a life which was now drawing to its utmost verge. His last employment consisted in arranging his collection of maps, plans, and geographical materials. It was the most extensive in Europe, and had been purchased by the king, who, however, left him the use of it during his life. This task performed, he sunk into a total imbecility both of mind and body, which continued for two years, and ended only with his death in January 1782.
D'Anville's published memoirs and dissertations amounted to 78, and his maps to 211. A complete edition of his works was announced in 1806 by De Dianne in 6 vols. quarto, only two of which had appeared when the editor died in 1832. See Dueler's amer s oge de D'Anrille (Paris, 1802).